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'Exit only' at humane society

Dogs with Wings needs homes too

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 06:00 am

ADOPT ME – The Edmonton Humane Society is currently operating at full capacity and has temporarily suspended volunteer animal surrenders until it can successfully adopt out the current groups of anilmals at the shelter.
ADOPT ME – The Edmonton Humane Society is currently operating at full capacity and has temporarily suspended volunteer animal surrenders until it can successfully adopt out the current groups of anilmals at the shelter.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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The “Enter” doors at the Edmonton Humane Society have been closed as the facility deals with an overcrowding problem. Kennel space for owner-surrendered cats and dogs is now at maximum capacity, leading the organization to put forth a few solutions to get things fixed as soon as possible.

EHS spokesperson Warren Dean said that the situation is a result of a combination of reduced animal adoptions and increased animal surrenders, especially as this is the high season for cats to have their litters.

“That can range anywhere from eight to a dozen kittens that come through our doors. We’re also stretched fairly thin in the medical side of things. With the influx of animals, all of them need to be spayed or neutered. Those procedures need to get done and they take time,” he said.

“It’s basically a lot more coming in than are able to go out right now.”

There are currently 143 dogs and puppies and 439 cats and kittens in the EHS’ care.

“One of the primary sources of the shelter’s capacity issues is pet overpopulation,” stated operations supervisor Megan Rodgers. “It’s a strong reminder of how important it is for people to spay and neuter their pets, and it reinforces just how much homeless shelter animals rely on our community to provide them with safe, loving homes.”

To illustrate the burden, Dean said that there were 132 animals (including canines, felines, birds, and other species) booked into the facility between last Saturday and Wednesday while only 64 were adopted.

“It’s common math.”

People who are in the market for adding a pet to their loving homes are also encouraged to consider adopting out of the EHS to help alleviate its overpopulation crunch. According to the press release that it issued on Wednesday, only the most urgent canine surrenders will still be admitted into care. It also states that it “never closes its doors to stray animals brought in from outside the City of Edmonton.”

To help in the cause, the organization is hosting a cat adoption event on July 18 and 19. Adoption prices will be reduced for adult cats. Dean said that this overcrowding is a temporary situation that could change just as quickly as it arose. People are also being asked to exercise patience as a way of helping things too.

“We just want to raise awareness with the public and get them to help us out, not only by adopting. Surrendering an animal is always a tough decision. If it’s not an emergency, if it’s not a situation that has to be done right now, maybe they can wait, just hold on a couple more weeks and help us out that way so that we have more room and can accommodate their animal just a little bit better.”

The Edmonton Humane Society is located at 13620 - 163 Street in Edmonton. For more information, call 780-471-1774 or visit www.edmontonhumanesociety.com.

More dogs needing homes

While one agency is struggling with animal intakes, another one is having its own interesting battle trying to find foster homes for dogs.

Kerri Davis, the volunteer co-ordinator with the Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society, said that there are three young pups that are in desperate need of homes. DWW has three pups in particular given the three fun names to help foster some sympathy to the cause.

“We have a crime scene going on,” she said, remarking on the playful monikers.

"Scully and Mulder... the male dog is one of our service dogs, so he’s the daddy. The other, the mom, is from the International Guide Dogs Foundation. And Matlock is a donated puppy. We have co-operatives with other breeding programs where if they have a litter, they give us one. Sometimes if we have a large litter we give them one.”

The pups are 8 to 11 weeks old. They are having some difficulty in finding new homes for various reasons, including the season.

“As it’s summertime, it’s quite hard to recruit families that are going to commit to something as full time as puppy raising.”

This leaves the agency with the task of finding temporary homes, which she calls, “holding tanks” where families can commit to housing the animals until permanent homes are found. The charity trains dogs to assist people with various disabilities including visual impairment, autism, Down syndrome, global developmental delay, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

In order to train assistance dogs, the foundation is in need of volunteer foster homes for up to two years of each dog's life.

Dogs with Wings is located at 11343 174 Street in west Edmonton. Call 780-944-8011 or visit www.dogswithwings.ca for more information.


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